Climate Change Mitigation as a Collective Action Problem in Complex Social-Ecological Systems
Kashima, Y. (University of Melbourne, Melbourne AU), Li, Y. (University of Melbourne), Sewell, D. (University of Queensland), Pattenden, E. (University of Melbourne)
Climate change mitigation poses a collective action problem within a complex social-ecological system (SES). A complex SES consists of social groups embedded in ecological systems with causal links and delayed feedback loops, and the human-climate system is an obvious example. We attempt to identify critical mechanisms that help resolve the collective action problem within a simplified SES analogue. Each actor has a partial control over its economic growth, but its GHG emissions are aggregated across all actors and their collective impact on the global warming and its negative delayed effect is fed back to their economic system. We manipulated whether the climate goal (keeping the global warming) was shared among the actors and the information about the human-climate system is in their common knowledge (everyone knows everyone has the information). As expected, both economic growth and global temperature goals were managed better when the economic goal was shared than when it was pursued individually; however, the system information was in their common knowledge, this effect was amplified. The sharing of the climate goal improved their performance, whereas the individual goal pursuit worsened the global warming. We discuss the paradoxical effect of common knowledge in the management of a complex SES.
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